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In my experience, LinkedIn is the only platform that directly and effectively leads to conversions and new business. On this network, teams can band together and connect with a potential customer early in the week, engage in real-time conversation, share content, make their pitch and close the deal, all before the weekend.
Today, approximately 562 million professionals around the world are using LinkedIn. With such a wide range of potential prospects, the goal should be to focus in on those that are most promising. You have to know how to play the game before you make your first move, and that’s why it’s so important to have a tactical strategy in place.
Businesses should encourage sales employees to get active on LinkedIn in a unified effort that starts from the top. Ask your managers and supervisors to lead by example, and start by getting employees to connect with one another on the platform. As you implement your social sales strategy, these are the key elements every team should keep in mind:
Lead Generation: You can’t make sales without first generating leads. So, encourage your team to go after their own leads. This is the key to social selling and how you can create long-term results. It’s up to individual reps to get social and form new relationships with prospects. For best results, use a high-quality customer relationship management system, which will hold team members accountable, ensure the quality of your leads, and prevent an overlap in your outreach efforts.
Look For The Window: When applying your social selling strategy to LinkedIn, you want to first examine your current connections, specifically those that you may have in common with prospects you’re looking to connect with. These are the connections you are going into already standing on some common ground. This is your opportunity to look through the window and get a sense of what you’re walking into so that you can cultivate a warm introduction and start building a relationship without sounding too “salesy.”
Build Relationships: Once you have a possible lead, take the time to cultivate the relationship. This is absolutely essential. Simply making contact and giving your pitch is a huge turn off, as no rapport has been established. How is a prospect supposed to trust you and buy into your brand if they feel they’re just another number in the system? This brings us to our next point.
Give Value: In order for your team members to truly build a trusting relationship with a prospect and lead a strong social selling campaign, you must provide value before you even think about asking for anything. This is how you lay the foundation for a successful sale. Give your target audience a reason to care. One effective way to do this is to provide a piece of valuable information for free, like an e-book, for example. This demonstrates good faith while driving home the value of your product and how it can improve their lives. You have to make a clear point that resonates emotionally before you can expect any sort of tangible exchange. But before you home in on the pitch, let it breathe. Simply send them the information and have a conversation to build credibility with your lead.
Customize: Sales efficiency and effectiveness is all about sticking to a script, but this doesn’t mean you can’t tailor the message to the prospect. You should customize each outreach and make regular updates in order to maintain interest and trust. This is why social selling is so unique. You do, in fact, have all the necessary resources available to you right there in their user profile so that you can tailor your message to each individual.
Develop Presence: Optimize your profiles, share valuable targeted content, and engage with users. The wonderful thing about social platforms like LinkedIn is that they easily allow both companies and employees to optimize their presence. In other words, a brand is no longer dependent upon a single web source. Now, your brand, image, message and product can be seen through multiple platforms and searches. When a user goes online to research your company, there are many resources for them to click on and seek further information, and therefore more chances for you to make a lasting impression.
Be Proactive: You can’t have a successful social selling strategy without being social. It’s that simple. You must make the effort to create valuable, shareable content for your prospects and engage in conversations with individuals, businesses and groups so that your product and message stay at the top of users’ minds (and news feeds).
Refine And Repeat: The key to a successful social selling strategy and any sales strategy is to refine and repeat your process. Sales aren’t likely to be made on your first few tries. In fact, they may not even happen with your next 10 tries. But if you stick to the process with each and every prospect your efforts will eventually be met with success.
Remember, social selling isn’t about making the minimal amount of effort as one might with cold calls. Rather, it’s about fostering those relationships that will turn into loyal, repeat customers. That’s how the best clients are made and where you’re likely to find your biggest sales. Now is the time to perfect your social strategy so that your team and business can enjoy a bright and lucrative future.